Tyler Chadwick already played his part in helping Coastal Carolina win its first-ever NCAA National Championship as a member of the Chanticleers baseball team.
Now, the former second baseman has an opportunity to help his school even more.
After the football team lost starting sophomore quarterback Josh Stilley to a left knee injury just weeks after backup Chance Thrasher suffered a season-ending shoulder injury, Chadwick – who graduated from the school in August but has a year of athletic eligibilty left – volunteered to play for the team and give the Chants some depth at the quarterback position as they are expected to lose Stilley for the year. Coastal Carolina hosts in-state rival Furman on Saturday at 6 p.m., and former Myrtle Beach High standout Tyler Keane was named the starter.
“I love this school,” Chadwick said. “Ever since I got here, I just fell in love with this community and everything that’s been here. Being able to do what we did in baseball and the community support we had was just unbelievable. And just being able to help out a little more for a school that’s given me so much, I’m just glad I could do it. And they didn’t take it as a complete joke.”
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After all, football was Chadwick’s favorite sport and the 5-foot-8, 195 pound athlete was a gifted quarterback – earning All-Southern Carolina Conference honors – at Marvin Ridge High (Waxhaw, N.C.).
“I’ve been around it my whole life. My dad was a high school coach my entire life, so I grew up around the game. I was pretty good in high school, except the fact that I’m 5-foot-8. I didn’t get many offers and I wanted to play a big-time sport in college, so baseball was my route. But I’ve always been in love with football; it’s been my number one love since I’ve been a kid.”
Actually, if Chadwick was a bit taller he may have never suited up for the National Champion Chants baseball team.
“If I could’ve played football [in college], I would have done that instead [of baseball],” he said.
As it stands, Chadwick doesn’t expect to play but certainly has an understanding of the team’s offense as he’s been in intern for Chants football team for about a year.
But how did it all come about? Chadwick said he jokingly told offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude that he could play quarterback for the Chants.
Patenaude took Chadwick seriously.
“[Patenaude] kind of ran with it,” Chadwick said. “… We got out of the staff meeting on Sunday and it was apparent that we were going to be struggling with the number of quarterbacks we were going to have. I kind of said it as a joke and half-joking and half being serious. … But being around [the field], and being up in the office and practices, we realized that with only three quarterbacks we weren’t going to be able to function in practices and stuff. So it was kind of something that I would want to do, but I was just kind of throwing the idea out that this could happen.”
Head coach Joe Moglia is certainly impressed with what Chadwick – who has aspirations to be a football coach – brings to the table.
“He was an outstanding QB in high school, and obviously an outstanding baseball player. But, because of his size, chose baseball which I think was a smart thing for him. But he came to [Patenaude] and said, ‘I have a year of eligibility left and if there’s anything I could do to help the team, I would do that. But use me any way you want,’ ” Moglia said. “Tyler wants to be a coach. When he had free time and wasn’t doing baseball or had class, he was with our offensive staff. He actually has a really good understanding of what our offense is, having been working with them over the span of the last year or so. I thought it was a great idea.”
Moglia said he also believes the intangibles Chadwick brings along with him could help.
“ All our guys know him, and the one’s who don’t know him well certainly know who he is. He played four years for a good, solid baseball team and last year was a significant part in them winning a National Championship. I think our guys look at that type of achievement and accomplishment and recognize that was special,” Moglia said. “I think they understand that. And I think any of them that think about it, probably appreciate that the guy actually stepped up to offer help in that area. He was an outstanding high school quarterback.”
Chadwick said Chants baseball coach Gary Gilmore and the rest of the team would sometimes tease him about his ability to throw the ball.
“We had joked around about it a few times,” Chadwick said. “Every time I had issues throwing [for the baseball team], they would bring up my highlight tape in football and be like, ‘Why can’t you throw like that?’ So, it’s been a running joke over there. But [Gilmore] was really excited for me, he texted me yesterday that it was just cool I got to be out in the practice field and be able to do stuff that I really love to do.”
And if things go his way, Chadwick will be around football for a long time.
“I don’t know if [I will] be a college coach or high school coach, but I know I want to coach football,” he said. “This has been my love since I was a kid.”
White lends a hand
Redshirt freshman defensive lineman Myles White stepped up big time last Saturday, blocking a field goal and recording six total tackles (1.5 for loss) in the Chants’ 27-26 loss to No. 4 Jacksonville State.
“I really wasn’t expecting to block that kick at the time,” he said. “But I just went hard, jumped and it hit my arm.”
Despite his best efforts, Myles wasn’t satisfied.
“It was kind heartbreaking that we didn’t come away with the win,” he said.
Also shining for the special teams Saturday was Jarius McMillan, who blocked a punt that resulted in a safety after the ball bounced through the end zone. Moglia expects the special teams unit, which he believes is one of the best in years, will continue to step up
“I thought the special teams was fantastic,” Moglia said. “It has been all year. We’re proud of our guys, and we need them to keep it up.”
As for White, he’s giving it his all every time he’s on the field and will expect nothing less on Saturday against Furman.
“You just have to practice hard every day, and go after it,” he said. “We need to bounce back from that loss, get back on track.”
Family weekend, fan support on tap
Coastal Carolina is expecting a huge crowd at Brooks Stadium on Saturday.
Seats are sold out, and only standing room only tickets are left as the Chants take on Furman at 6 p.m. Moglia noted that the fan support has picked up, and it was evident as 10,037 fans (fifth most) filed into Brooks Stadium in the team’s home-opening win over Florida A&M.
“It’s great. The first game we had at home, I thought the fan support was terrific. We had over 10,000 people there; the stadium doesn’t even hold quite that many,” Moglia said. “A standing room-only [crowd], I think is terrific. The student body is doing a much better job – than say four or five years ago – of getting truly involved and being supportive. I think we’re starting to get more support from the community as well. We’re happy to play at home, and we appreciate that the fans are coming out to see us.”
Moglia believes it’s a testament to the team’s success.
“Keep in mind, as well, that from our perspective our mission is to put a team on the field that Coastal is going to be proud of,” he said. “So the fact that our school – that we’re trying to make proud – comes and supports us is a big deal.”